‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Details Visit to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Home

by Maria Hartfield
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Melissa Gilbert known for her role as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri. Gilbert and her husband, actor and director Timothy Busfield were working in Chicago before making a pitstop at the historic home.

Gilbert spent most of her childhood starring as Laura Ingalls on the TV series.

“I had never been to that one, I’ve been to all the others, and it was fantastic,” she said. When asked to share a “worst moment” in her career, she had quite the story to tell.

Melissa Gilbert Shares Her Worst Moment

The actress recalls a memory from filming Little House on the Prairie in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

“We were shooting in Tucson, Arizona at Old Tucson, which is an amusement park and old Western town… This was probably five or six seasons in, enough for this to actually be really humiliating because, you know, hormones and changing bodies and I was the uncomfortable, awkward girl trying to be really cool all the time around all the other kids we were working with,” she recalls.

“So we had a break. And all us kids went and got root beer floats. And then we came back to where we were filming, which was in this old bar. It was a big Western bar. The other thing you have to know is there were a lot of cowboys on our set. They were stuntmen and wranglers — so, a lot of people who chewed tobacco. And there was a rule that they weren’t allowed to spit on the ground. So they handed out, like, red solo cups for the guys to spit in.”

Cowboys and Spit Cups

Gilbert continues saying, “We go back into this saloon where we’re filming and we’re getting ready to rehearse a scene, and I set my root beer float down on a counter next to a bunch of other stuff and I rehearse my scene. And then I come back and I pick up my root beer float and take a giant sip.”

“It wasn’t [a] root beer float. It was one of the guy’s spit cups,” she concludes. Talk about an embarrassing moment.

“And I just exploded and spit this stuff everywhere! At first I stopped and thought, maybe I can swallow this and no one will know? But it was the most disgusting — I can’t even. It took me a second to realize this wasn’t root beer. You know how it all happens in a flash? And when I realized what it was and there was nothing else for me to do but pwaaaahhh and tears are running down my face. I’m so glad I didn’t vomit. I was screaming and jumping up and down, I couldn’t have made more of a scene.”

“I ran out, ran to my dressing room, rinsed my mouth out with water as best as I could… and I remember coming out of my trailer and somebody saying, ‘Everything OK?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, everything’s fine!’”

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